Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Brief Respite

This morning, Dr. Becky and I are leaving the farm.
It is time for a girls' road trip!

We are heading to Lexington, Kentucky,
a 10 hour trip with a few friends,
for 
The World Equestrian Games
(of course just to watch!)



This year is the first year for this event to be held in the USA...
so it is a very exciting event....
one worth leaving the farm for
(just for a short while, though!)

We have tickets to watch Eventing and Freestyle Dressage.
What an opportunity!

We will return home on October 4th and have more 
"tails from the farm"
to share with you.

Until then, have a perfect end to your week!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On The Subject of Rain

After such a hot, dry summer,
a day of rain is welcome...
and tolerated by most.

Except the goats who wouldn't care if it never rained again.

At least, if it rains, they can count on room service.
There's nothing like dinner delivered right to your door.

If you read this blog with regularity, you will be happy to know
Eileen is back on two feet again!

When the rain gets a little heavier,


everyone seeks a little shelter!

Especially me!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Welcome Autumn

Autumn crept in,
 this week,
 on little black spider feet!

Overnight, it seems, the farm has started its transition
away from summer.

Cooler days, cooler nights have us scrambling for
warm socks and sweatshirts.

We sleep nestled beneath warm quilts
as the night winds scatter the leaves to the ground...
leaves that are yellow, orange and red.

The Beauty-berry bushes have adorned themselves
with beautiful violet berries.

Pumpkins and mums are popping up all over the farm.

The corn fields have turned brown.

Soon,
 very soon,
we will haul wood into the house and
warm ourselves by our cozy fireplace...
ginger cookies and hot spiced cider in hand.

Would you like to join us?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Morning chores

Every morning it is the same routine...
out of bed at the crack of dawn,

load the dogs into the gator,
(Oakley runs ahead of us)
(Sadie stays home these days...a little lameness issue).

TomTom meets the gator halfway down the lane.

We head to the barn and are greeted each morning by the same faces.
Moonbeam and Donnie are quite eager for their breakfast,
and let us know so by clacking their hooves on the metal gate.

Ella Bella is always in the same place
requesting her breakfast, too.

Bobby rides along to deliver fresh water to all the animals.


The chickens are always waiting for us...
eager to get their treat of scratch.


Then out to take care of the goats...
Did you know that goats are always happy?
It's true... happiness is their essence.


There is a routine to each morning.
The same chores need to be done,
the same faces are there...waiting.

It's this sameness, this routine,
that gives us all security.
There is a comfort to the rhythm of the farm.

The work is done, over and over,
day after day,
and yet,
it is not tedious,
it is not drudgery.

The rhythm is peaceful and serene.

Life on the farm....

A very good life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The ROO Fraternity

Look out!
There's Roos on the loose 
at the farm.

Yes, those crazy 6 Ameraucana roosters are free ranging
to their hearts' delight.

Sunday was their first day of freedom.
I opened the door to their little ramp,

and out they came, 
one by one....

delighted,

excited,

ready to take their partying to a whole new level!

Out to roam mid morning til nightfall,
they can be found just about anywhere...

in the woods, in the orchard, along the driveway.

The first evening we had a bit of a scare, though.
At nightfall, when we stopped by the coop
to close up for the night,
we could only count 5 Roos in the coop.
Three on their roost,
and two stuffed together in a nesting box.

Oh no....not predators again!

But sure enough, then next morning....
6 rooster were present and accounted for.
Awake,
,
crowing,
ready to take on the world,
or at least the acre around their coop.

Apparently there had been three stuffed in one 
nesting box together.
Pity the poor guy in the back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Little Surprise

We are doing a little waddle dance
here at the farm.

The ducks are excited
and so are we!!!


Last night while changing the water in the duck hut,
my daughter
 Jenn
found
 something
 wonderful!


Three grey duck eggs!
Our first.

Raising this flock of ducks has been such a pleasure.
We still have the whole flock of 18...
no casualties!

Have you ever eaten a duck egg?

They taste just slightly stronger than chicken eggs,
with a slightly larger, orange yolk
that stands up nice and tall when cracked in the pan.

Duck eggs are slightly higher in fat and cholesterol.

They have more albumen in the whites than chicken eggs,
(albumen is the protein in the whites)
and this causes them to cook up higher,
making duck eggs superior for baking.

When not using them for baking,
we will most likely hard boil these eggs
and use them for our "girls'" breakfast.
(the girls are our dogs!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Predators, Pestilence, Parasites and Poison Ivy


Ahhhhhh, life in the country...

idyllic, bucolic, peaceful...

filled with breathtaking sunsets, gentle breezes,

predators, pestilence, parasites and Poising Ivy!!

It seems we are always engaged in hand to hand combat 
with some form of pest.
Life would be so much easier if we weren't committed to
farming without the use of chemicals.

Apple scab, Japanese beetles, hornworms, tent caterpillars,
 aphids and others to many to name,
are all unwelcome guests in our gardens.

We are constantly dealing with black flies, deer flies, 
 horseflies, and mosquitos,
not to mention lice,
for the sake of our dear critters.

Although we practice organic farming,
we do resort to medical treatments for parasites in our critters.
We Frontline our dogs and use Heartworm preventative.
We check fecal samples from our horses and goats 
and use anti-helmetics when necessary.

This year, a new parasite has landed on Bee Haven Acres.
The equine Bot fly!

Just the word bot fly sends chills down my spine...
but, these are not the Human botflies 
that are indigenous to the tropics.
Thank God!

This past weekend we had a visit from our dear friends
Ann and Tim...
(they are our friends with that beautiful black Friesian horse
who often visits our farm.)
Well, during that visit, Ann mentioned that the barn
that her horse is boarded in has bot flies.
Bot flies?
That sounded horrible!

Curious, I asked her about them.
And then I did a little research....

Bot flies look a little like a bee, a bit smaller than a honeybee.
What is striking, when you see them flying, 
is how they carry their tail...
hanging down from their abdomen.

Well, these nasty little creatures lay their eggs
on the front legs and chest of the horses.
Here is a picture of some on Red, one of the minis:
They are tiny yellow eggs that you see here on the end 
of hair shafts...no bigger than half the size of a pin head.

The horses, when rubbing their legs with their nose,
will ingest the eggs.
The eggs then travel into the horse's intestines
where they complete their life cycle.
The developing larvae cause irritation and ulceration
of the lining of the intestines.
Unfortunately, they do not test positive in fecal samples until
they complete their life cycle and move out of the
intestines...10 to 12 months later.

Removing the bot eggs is difficult and requires a blade or knife.
Still, it is impossible to tell if you have removed all of them.
So it is recommended that you treat with Ivermectin or something like it
in the fall, after a couple of freezes (freezes get rid of the egg-laying bots).
Consult your vet if you find these tiny yellow eggs.

Personally, this all grosses me out!
But, dealing with these issues is a part of country life.
So we learn to take the good 
with 
the 
bad (shiver)!

Oh, and before I finish, I must tell you what else I have learned...
Always, always, always wash (shower)
immediately after a poison ivy exposure.
I didn't.
Yes, I though I was invincible.
Funny, too, because I have had a new case of poison ivy
every two weeks this summer
(thank you Oakley...who runs through the woods
and brings the oils home on his coat).

This time was different, though.
While pulling weeds, I realized that I might have pulled 
out a poison ivy vine.
Did I shower right away?
No.
Did I get a rash?
Yes...polluted with it!
I cannot show you the rest...but believe me,
I am losing sleep...
awake...scratching!

There is one question plaguing me, though...

WHY?

Why do we have all of these predators, pestilence, parasites and poison ivy?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wyandotte Sisters

Oh I have been so remiss lately....
so consumed with concern for our dear Eileen,

that I have forgotten to tell you about her sister!

And believe me, her sister, Tammy, is just a bit annoyed with me!
(This, dear readers, is how a chicken
looks when she is annoyed!)

You see, a few decades ago, there was this sister act...
The Wyandotte Sisters (Eileen and Tammy)....
made famous after countless appearances on
The Ed Sullivan Show.

Boy, could those gals sing....
perfect harmony,
with voices of angels...
sweet Gospel melodies of yesteryear.

And then one day Tammy was bit by the Country Music bug.

Well, she up and left the sister act and headed out on her own.
leaving Eileen alone and devastated!

Introducing.....

Tammy Wyandotte

You might remember a few of her hits.

Perhaps most famous was...
"Stand By Your Roo",
and of course
"Run, Hen, Run"
and also
"Brooding Story"

A movie was made about Tammy's life...
The Coal Miner's Pullet
starring Sissy Silkie.

During this time, Eileen gave up 
the public life and spent the next several decades
singing in the Gritty Hollow Baptist Church choir.

Eventually, Tammy's career took a turn for the worse.
(perhaps it was the reported addiction to painkillers)
Regardless, she spent a little time in the Betty Ford Center
before heading to Bee Haven Acres
to spend her retirement 
and reunite with her sister... 

Eileen

Yes, fans, our Eileen is none other than 

Eileen Wyandotte.

I'll bet you thought she looked familiar!!

Well, if you follow this blog,
you will know that Eileen has had her
share of woes lately...
the latest being a rip-roaring case of bumblefoot.
(You can read about it HERE .)

Happily, though, after last week's surgery
and countless dressing changes,
Eileen's foot is on the mend.
She bears weight on it about half the time now.
The hole left by the surgery is healing quickly.
We are still saying our prayers...
but it looks like Eileen should make a full recovery!

Hopefully we can get these gals back in front
of a microphone at one of our eventual
Blueberry Festivals.

PS:  Tammy is a Silver Laced Wyandotte chicken
Eileen is a Gold Laced Wyandotte chicken

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gourd Harvest

Can you believe...
from four gourd plants I got
these...

and these!....

And they are all large gourds!
There are still smaller ones
left on the vine...
continuing to mature.

Now, what to do with all these gourds?
Any good suggestions?

Today's cute picture....

To market, to market to buy a... 


...lazy barn cat.

Bobby, you should be out hunting mice!
That face says "Quit bothering me!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Apple Harvest

It's that time of year again!
The days are warm, the nights are cool.
The leaves are beginning to turn to shades of yellow and crimson.
And with this time comes apple harvest.

I headed to the orchard yesterday in search of apples

for a very special dessert.
A family favorite...
a tradition started by my mother
and carried on by me...
Apple Harvest Cake

made only one time each year
at apple harvest time.

I filled my basket with the apples from the lower branches

and then used my trusty apple picker for the ones I could not reach.

I just couldn't help but eat one.

I think they are Macintosh,
but since the trees are so old, 
and we did not plant them,
I am only guessing.


Of course I had the usual help!
Ok, this is not much help, TomTom!

***Warning***
You might want to end your reading
 with the above,
if you are feint of heart,
or a bit squeamish.

I thought I would share with you the outcome
of Dr. Becky's visit with Eileen.....

Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Becky payed a coop call.
She looked at Eileen's foot and confirmed 
that indeed she did have a case of 
Bumblefoot!
(Thanks to Heather and Peggy for the tip!)

Ok, here is your second warning...
you might not want 
to read any farther!!


Bumblefoot is a Staph infection of the foot.
Sure enough, Eileen's foot had a lot of pus beneath the skin.

Dr. Becky lanced the foot

and removed a large solidified mass of pus
(I told you to stop reading!)

She cleaned out all of the pus.
(Amazingly, the procedure did not seem to bother
Eileen all that much.)

Then she applied antibiotics and packed the wound.

Bandages were applied.

We will check the dressings tomorrow and possibly change them.
Hopefully with some daily care,
her foot will now heal up nicely.

Please say your chicken prayers for Eileen!
My apologies if any of that grossed you out!!
(I told you not to ready any farther!)

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